"Don't wish me happiness I don't expect to be happy all the time....It's gotten beyond that somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor. I will need them all." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Oh Baby, Baby

It's 3 am and I am lying here awake thinking about you - again. And then I feel you moving. Tiny kicks, hands reaching and I wonder what it would be like to scoop you up in my arms. I smile and then I sing, "Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you are. Up above the sky so high, like a diamond in the sky. Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder who you are."

I finished this baby sweater. It's a design I've created for my knitting class. This particular one will be a gift. The one I've already got going on my needles will be for mine and a demo for the class. It's a super easy pattern. Straight knitting if you choose, but I had to add a row of purl for effect. It is knit from the bottom up on circular needles, there is a few stitches to stitch up under the arms but no pieces to block, assemble and sew!!!! So if your in my class its free otherwise I'll be charging a few dollars. I will let you know when and where it's available.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Story Behind the Afghan

It's two months today until my due date. It's a celebratory feeling, knowing how far I've come and how little time is left until the big event.

As the pregnancy has progressed I'm nesting and travelling inward. There's a certain peace that has come that everything is going to be okay. I dream about meeting my baby and I think about my rite into this sacred passage and anticipate how it will continue to change my life. My baby is my blessing and my inspiration. It has also been a time of great loss. It has left me feeling like I can never love or trust a man again.

The afghan I knit for my friend tells this story. The afghan like my life was knitted and lived spontaneously and progressed and unfolded in the now. It tells not just the story of my life over the last year but of a friendship through the years forged hiking through meadows and forests on the way to mountain tops.

There are two quotes that have helped me over the last seven months. The first hangs in a small pottery plaque above the toilet in a house I clean. It says, "Listen to your heart --- it knows where it is going." The second I found in my bible, "He gently leads those who are with young." Isaiah 40:11

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Womb: a guided visualization script

I'm almost finished reading, Preparation for Birth The Complete Guide to the Lamaze Method by Beverly Savage and Diana Simkin. On pg. 134 it says, "If you contract your whole body each time a uterine contraction occurs, you will exhaust yourself after only a very short time. Only be letting the uterus work freely and actively by itself will you be able to free the cervix to open while at the same time conserving energy throughout the rest of your body."

The authors suggest to choose a focal point to encourage relaxation. I decided on a 38 week old baby in utereo set as wall-paper on my cellphone. They also suggest lamaze breathing or a guided visualization. Here is an excerpt from the one I've started to write for myself.

Close your eyes. Breath in and breath out. Relax as you exhale, and lower your shoulders until you are comfortable. Breath in and when you breath out allow the tension to flow away.

Now imagine, you have become very small and have travelled to your uterus. You are floating in your womb. The sounds around you are muffled now. The amniotic fluid is warm and soothing to your tiny body. You lick your lips and it tastes salty like the ocean surrounding the island that is your home. You point your toes and kick your feet gently while sculling with your hands. Boom. Boom. Boom. It is the rhythm of your heart. There is a lighter drum beating faster and you realize it is the tempo of your baby's heart.

You feel the tightening pressure of your womb. It is gently pushing baby down. Keep breathing. Relax your uterine muscles. Relax your shoulders.  Let the wave of power wash over and through you. Open yourself to it. Embrace it and know that your cervix is opening gently like the tulips in your garden under the watch of the giant maple trees in the spring sunshine. The wave is bringing both of you closer. Keep breathing. Relax. Now open your eyes. You see the breath of your bubbles slowly ascend up to the pinkish glow of light on the outside world. You turn again and catch the first glimpse of your baby . He is sucking his thumb and his blue eyes are looking at you. You smile and want to embrace him. But you can't you are to tiny. Come now you must go back to the outside world now. Breath and relax. Soon you will hold your baby.

The point of this and lamaze is not that it will decrease the pain but alter your perception of it. How effective this will be remains to be seen.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

my birthing confidence

I have begun to feel that birthing is something I need to embrace. It is a gift and an opportunity. Like the butterfly that emerges out of the chrysalis so is birthing the baby out of my womb. It is a beautiful, mystic, event. A miracle that I have the precious opportunity to participate in. It is an opportunity for me to be transformed and empowered and when I choose to look at it this way all fear dissolves.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

a 1950's baby layette compared to today

I first encountered the term layette when I began writing in the family history in my new baby book. I have to admit up to this point I haven't really given baby clothes to much consideration. I have been afterall to busy putting a roof over our heads or lately to exhausted to go shopping. Aren't baby clothes just clothes after all? I have picked up a few adorable sleepers that I couldn't walk past. Like the Carter's zippered soft, bright yellow one that matches the striped, yellow hat my knitting girlfriend made or the white, lamb sleeper complete with fuzzy ears on the head.

In a June 1954 copy of Canadian Homes and Gardens I read an article on the baby layette. First, it admonished no ruffles as it would cause needless ironing. The merits of gauze vrs. knitted cloth diapers and the "new" diaper was discussed in some detail. A quick google search informed me that the first pre-formed, pinless, snap-on "new" diaper was invented by a woman in 1950 who sold the patient for money to build a house. I wonder if she was a single mom. The article went on to suggest how many kimono's, baby wrappers, t-shirts and nightgowns with drawstrings on the neck and sleeves and baby slips (in case it's a girl) that I would need.

Since I have begun shopping or more accurately now that my mother has finished shopping I have yet to see a baby slip, kimono, or wrapper or nightgown with drawstrings. I have two closets and two dressers full of sleepers, onsies, pants and tops made of every soft fabric imaginable. And yes, ruffles and ribbons on everything pink. A special thank-you to my amazing mom. Baby will be well-dressed for the next two years whether it is a boy or a girl. I have yet to decide what to write on the single line in the baby book other than well-stocked.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

slouch hat knitting pattern

Yarn: one 100 gram ball of Bernat mosaic.
needles used: 3mm double pointed needles.
Gauge: 5 sts and 7 rows to 1" stocking st
 Cast on 67sts. * k1 p1 k1 p1. Repeat from * to end of round. Repeat this round until work measures approx. 1.75" from cast-on edge. Inc approx 12 sts every round until at 3.5" from cast-on edge you have 233 sts on your needles. Knit in the round until work measures 5.25" from cast-on edge. Dec 12 sts every round until work measures 7.75" from cast-on edge. You should have 38 sts on your needles. Knit 3 rounds. Dec 6 sts every round until 7 sts remain. Break yarn, feed yarn through remaining sts on needles with crochet hook. Pull tightly and knot on the inside.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

a talk with grandma and c section trivia

I talked on the phone with my grandmother last night. She's 83 and has birthed four children. "To deliver," she said, "especially the first time your body is stretching so it takes time. You need to allow for that. You must be open and relaxed so your not fighting what your body needs to do. And if you need drugs to have that mindset than you need to consider doing so."

The first recorded incidence of a woman surviving a c section was in the 1580's in Switzerland. The husband, a pig gelder performed the operation on his wife after a prolonged labour. Prior to that the section almost always resulted in the death of the mother.

I spent some time researching the epidural and the drug options that are available to me and possible side effects both to me and my baby. I believe knowing this will assist me in the decisions I make going into labour and while birthing.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Birthing book review

The name of the book is Labour Day Shared Experiences from the Delivery Room and is edited by by Ann-Marie Giglio. My mom gave me this little book which I am enjoying. It consists of 35 personally written birthing accounts. Some are home births, hospital deliveries, waterbirths, midwives, twins, a father's perspective and more. Most of these are written by moms birthing in their late twenties to late thirties. They are honest and insightful and like the value of all storytelling there is much that can be gleaned by listening to the accounts of the women who have already gone where I am about to go.

One of my favorite accounts, a single mom said this," There is no real way of saying what it feels like to give birth, because there is truly nothing that compares. I cannot think of another experience with an outcome so astonishingly and overpoweringly beautiful that it makes such torturous work worth doing."

Another mom quoted these words directly out of her pregnancy journal. "I had a strong sense that my body was doing something that had happened billions of times before, and it knew what to do. All I needed to do was stay out of the way and keep calm. It was in many ways an intensely spiritual experience."

As the back of the book concludes,"Give birth to a child and you give birth to a story." My general impression is that your birthing story like you will be as unique as your thumbprint. In todays modern world we certainly have alot more options than the generations of women before us both in terms of how we want to give birth and what we want or hope to obtain from our experience. For me it has become vital to clarify my own expectations to myself while at the same time leaving an option for the unknown to emerge and that my caregiver share similar compatible birthing ideas.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

headband with ribbing

Needles used: for ribbing use size 3.00mm circular needles and for the rest of headband use 4mm circular needles.
Yarn used: Smart Superwash Sandness Garn Yarn
Gauge: 18 sts and 30 rows = 4" in stocking st
Cast on 105 sts. knit ribbing (k1 p1 k1 p1) for 1.25"
 Knit 2". You can make this as simple as you want by knitting with one color or adding in a personal pattern.
Knit ribbing again for 1.25".
Cast off.

This is my 14 year old nephew who commented right away that it was "scratchy". The next one I make for him or any other child/teen will be acrylic and in the future wool will be reserved strictly for wool lovers.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Birthing Poem

I found this at http://talkbirth.me/2010/04/06/two-birth-poems/
Ordinary Miracle
by Barbara Kingsolver
I have mourned lost days
When I accomplished nothing of importance.
But not lately.
Lately under the lunar tide
Of a woman’s ocean, I work
My own sea-change:
Turning grains of sand to human eyes.
I daydream after breakfast
While the spirit of egg and toast
Knits together a length of bone
As fine as a wheatstalk.
Later, as I postpone weeding the garden
I will make two hands
That may tend a hundred gardens.
I need ten full moons exactly
For keeping the animal promise.
I offer myself up: unsaintly, but
Transmuted anyway
By the most ordinary miracle.
I am nothing in this world beyond the things one woman does.
But here are eyes that once were pearls.
And here is a second chance where there was none.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Birthing song

I am collecting a list of songs that I want to put together to play when I am birthing. This one is so good it made me cry. Its by Colbie Caillat and its called Capri. She sings it on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-6HXmTuu50 and its beautifully set to soft music and the words come through gentle and strong and sweet. Here are some of the lyrics.

She's got a baby inside
And holds her belly tight
Just so she knows
She's sleeping so
safely to keep
her growing.

Oh when she'll open her eyes
there'll be no surprise
she'll grow to be
so beautifully
just like her mother
that's carrying

Oh Capri
She's beauty
there is an angel growing peacefully
oh Capri
sweet baby

I am going to collect a list of songs. If you have a suggestion or one you love please add to the list.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

birthing fear

Today I cried. Was it over the birth classes I decided not to attend because I felt it would underline my aloneness or the lamaze breathing classes that don't exist? Or was it that I couldn't find online the help I wanted? I am on the precipice of realizing that birthing is more than a physical event. It is a passage into a different part of the circle of life both spiritually and emotionally and I need to  prepare that part of myself. I also need to rid myself of the fear our culture installs into us of birthing and pain. I want a natural childbirth and I have no reason to doubt that my body will know what to do and that my faith in myself will carry me through. After all if I could tear the roof off my place, put on a second floor and a new roof while pregnant and alone surely I can have the birth I want.

Willow Tree

I am a willow tree,
Strong, yet fluid

I can bend with the wind,
but my roots are tough,

Opening to birth my child,
is flowing with the wind:

from a soft and gentle breeze
to a stormy gale
back to a soft and gentle breeze.

My body is strong, but flexible.
It is my friend, it knows how to open.
I am a friend to my body

eating well, walking, and loving myself.

I shall birth safely, freely, openly....

among my loved and trusted ones.

I am the willow flexible,

beautiful resilient
endowed with the power of surrender

to the wind rustling through my leaves,
my branches.

My roots reach deep into Mother Earth
anchored in Her strength
I bring forth life
in joy!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Easy Basic headband without ribbing

Needles: size 4mm circular needle yarn: smart superwash sandness garn yarn Gauge: 18 sts and 30 rows = 4" in stocking st. 1. Cast on 92 sts 2. Knit 2 " 3. Purl 1 row 4. Knit 4 " I put stripes in which is completely optional. You can make this as simple or elaborate as you like. 5. Purl 1 row 6. Knit 2" 7. Cast off. To assemble turn inside out and with needle and yarn join both edges together as shown by the camo yarn in picture.